I'm working on a series of books (if you'd like to read them, let me know and I'll e-mail you the current copies to read) and I've got a question. Perhaps it's because of what I've read and enjoyed over the year and perhaps it's because of what I've read and gotten frustrated with over the years, but...
When you're writing a fantasy novel, how much (or little) romance do you include in your novel?
When fleshing out your world, how much importance do you place on religion of your world?
I ask this because as of this writing, I've dodged the following issues intentionally in my writting.
Romance, Religion, dates (and calendars), Time, and measurements.
I've spent most of my time trying to develop the story and wonder if any of these items would be needed for a reader to relate more to the world I've developed or if them not having a place in my world speaks more about the way things may have developed differently for the characters involved.
December 30th, 2003, 09:26 PM
Your questions are difficult to answer without actually reading your work, because the solution depends on your individual story. Romance and religion can and should be included if the story requires it--but don't have to be included if it's not necessary.
For example, in the novels I'm working on the religious beliefs of the people end up playing a large role in the storyline, so I can't shy away from the idea of religion in the books. In my particular story the truth of the religion is going to end up being challenged so it should be interesting to write about. As for romance, there will be some in my story although it certainly won't be overdone or tawdry. I'm putting it in simply because it's my personal taste--I enjoy a book more if there's at least a little bit of romance in it. I think that love is a strong motivator for the characters' actions.
I guess what I'm saying is, do whatever works for you. There are no firm rules about such things, although personally I believe it would be difficult to create a compelling story completely void of both religion and romance.
Creating your own system of time, dates, and measurements can be tedious, but I think it would be more difficult to have to carefully avoid any mention of them in your story. And such details add realism to your created world. So on this point I would have to say, you really shouldn't avoid mentioning them. You don't need to create a totally original system--you could decide to use an ancient system used on Earth like the talents and cubits of the Bible or the sundials of ancient Rome. Have some fun with it.
But again, if there is another way you want to do it and it works for you, then great. As I said it depends on your individual story.
I'm starting to ramble but I hope I've helped a bit. :)
December 30th, 2003, 10:28 PM
I've been working on and off on a fantasy story for some time (Just a time filler I play around with until I have time to really develop it) and the entire thing revolves around the main character and his love for one of the female characters. The first half of the story is pretty much just the building of this relationship between them and the second half is his descent into darkness after he loses her to the "great evil" of my fantasy tale and seeks revenge. My story couldn't work without the romantic elements, because the very basis of the story is how far a person is willing to go for the person they love the most.
That is one example from my own writing. But romance while always in general a good thing is not a necessity, it just makes for more interesting character interaction.
December 31st, 2003, 03:57 AM
Yep. I, too, think it depends on the story.
Personaly, I think religion is more important to put in the story, because, even if your main characters are atheists, the rest of the world usually will believe in something. Even if that is something simple as the Lightning in stormy nights.
Romance depends on the characters. But, including it, for me, makes them more real. But, also, I think that it isn't something that must be "forced"; write a romace only if your characters lead you to it: besides, you're not writing a romance novel, so you don't have to have one in it.
That's my two euro-cents. :)
December 31st, 2003, 05:12 AM
I think you have to be careful with romance. If it isn't done well enough it can feel like a tacked on ploy to get the reader to empathise more with your characters, a deliberate manipulation on the authors part.
I usually have some element of religion in my stories, even if it's just a concept of faith, beliefs or a passing mention of mythology. You can shy away from it and your story won't lose anything but I like little details and just throwing in the names of old Gods IMHO makes the world more three-dimensional.
December 31st, 2003, 08:06 AM
For my fantasy project, romance is one of the key elements, and religion is absolutely essential to the cultural development. For my sci-fi project, lack of religion is just as important -- the culture is secular atheist and very much frowns on religion, so the issue is in the forefront.
As others have said, it's what's best for your story that is best for you, but I would say, play with it some. See if you like it first, then cast it aside if you don't.
January 2nd, 2004, 07:19 PM
Sometimes a fantasy setting is more of a backdrop than others. If it's to serve mainly as a jumping off point, rather than as a pivotal aspect of the plot, then elaborating on religion, time and measurement systems may not be needed. Also, if you find you really don't want to develop a detailed, new world setting, consider if you can set the story in our modern day world, as an "urban" contemporary fantasy story. That doesn't negate the need for developing the setting completely, but it does mean that you won't necessarily have to come up with brand new systems for religion, measurements, calendars, etc. Another technique is to deliberately model your setting aspects on real world, already existing systems, giving your fantasy set-up an alternate reality feel.
As for romance, I've read many wonderful stories that didn't have such plot threads. If your story is about friends who are comrades rather than lovers or people who are enemies, or strangers in a difficult situation, there ain't nothing wrong with that.
January 2nd, 2004, 10:22 PM
For religion, I'd say no but some kind of spiritual belief is necessary.
For romance, I'd say yes but it doesn't have to be prominent or corny like Romeo and Juliet. Someone once said that every great story is a romance one. I think they're right.
Both elements should be in the story because it'll a more real feel to it.
January 3rd, 2004, 03:24 PM
Like many others I will say that it depends! Personally I like a story with a little of both romance and religion. I think it helps give the characters something to build on and provide inspiration for their actions.
January 4th, 2004, 08:17 AM
My book wouldn't be much without romance, it could effectively be told outside fantasy but my personnal peference was to write a fantasy book. Romance is a key issue. Religion is unimportant to my book, I quickly made up one and put it into the Hobb-like texts at the start of my first chapter just to make my world a bit more developed.